Subvideoday: Music Selected in the Name of Psycho Killers
, / 17 February 2016

Upon the shade of the thin line ranging from affections to hatred, there’s a saying that fallin’ in love with the antagonist is a dumb way to die. Particularly if the bad guy has a high intelligence that was considered an illness and needs to be medicated, like Norman Bates. This fictional character from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is resurrected in the serial killer series “Bates Motel” to give a throwback of how Bates’ psyche unravels through his teenage years.

Adopted from novel Psycho written by Robert Bloch, Bates is explained as suffering from emotional abuse since he was a child at the hand of his mother, Norma Bates. She never allowed Bates to have friends and brainwashed him with the belief that sexual intercourse is sinful and all women besides his mother are whores. After the death of Norman’s father, they lived alone together as if there was no one else in the world, until Norman reached adolescence, Norma found a lover named Joe Considine.

Consumed by jealousy, Norman poisoned both of them with strychnine to death. He arranged the murder like it was a suicide scene. No longer from the incident, Bates was hospitalized for a while and developed a dissociative identity disorder. He formed his mother’s personality in his self to forget about her death and then escape the feelings of guilt of murdering her. He inherited his mother’s house where he kept her corpse and the family motel in the small town of Fairvale.


From ‘Bates Motel’, we’ve learned how deeply intricate the relationship between Norman Bates -the guy we’re supposed to fall head over heels with- and Norma, his twisted yet nurturing mother. The insane relationship resulted in Bates having creepy habits; whenever he feels attraction towards a girl, he would switch his personality by dressing in his mother’s clothes, wielding a knife and avenged his mother (he believe he is the mother) against the slut who is trying to seduce “her” son. He becomes a dutiful son that always covers the crime.

Apparently, we’re not merely thrilled to the horrifying affection between those crazy characters. We also have an ear to the music soundtracks that we believe is not just accompanying the scenes. They shape the story line; they give us an impression while we’re reading the scene, they create a more convincing atmosphere within the temporary reality we’re seeing.

For the love of music, here in Sub, we’re about to share our selected favorite music soundtracks from the Bates Motel TV Series. Let us know if these are your favorites too!

Arctic Monkey – R U mine?

The third season of Bates Motel might be greeted less warmly but it was still intriguing since it opened with the Arctic Monkeys. The rock group’s hit  “R U Mine” was played on an epic Dylan-driving-with-angst scene.

Haim – Wired

This song appears in the first episode “Gone but Not Forgotten” of season 2. It’s quite a happy scene. Norman and Norma Bates were in good shape for their motel business.

BRMC – Rival

In the first season ‘First You Dream and Then You Die’, Rival by Black Rebel Motorcycle was played before we heard Radiohead’s the Tourist.

The Specials – A message to you Rudy

This song is playing in the delivery scene between Emma and Dylan. It is heard on the third season, episode 3 ‘Persuasion’.

Chromatics – Kill for Love

The Bates Motel’ season finale ended up with a school dance. Norman Bates took his date, Emma, to dance together to the song ‘Kill for Love’ by Portland band, Chromatics.

Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

This song is not on the tracks list but it’s rather a tribute from us to the innocent and endearing murderer, Norman Bates. In fact, Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer was inspired by Norman’s character itself.


It is easy to manipulate people with music, isn’t it?

Our music choices from the Bates Motel series are delivering the emotional weight of relationships between each character. It feeds us with more intimacy to the story. Leading us into seeing how frightening it is if we mistake intimacy for intensity; violating the boundaries in ways we shouldn’t, getting closer and closer and… Anyway, we just learn to talk about music. Ciao!

Words by Mahda Maria

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